London Underground engineers have completed their biggest test to date of brand new signalling that will see more trains able to run closer together in the future.

Engineers from TfL and from Thales spent the weekend testing trains on a new computer-based signalling and control system between Hammersmith and Edgware Road, which will be the first section of the Tube to go live with the new signalling system in 2018.

The main benefits will be delivered by 2022, when the frequency of trains running during peak periods will increase to 32 trains per hour in central London.

The latest tests follow on from tests back in October when the first trains were able to run under the new signalling for the first time.

The testing involved using the new signalling system to manage the distance between trains. The new modern ‘S stock’ trains that run on all four lines are currently having new equipment installed, with 30 already fitted out by Bombardier.

The new Thales signalling and control system will allow trains to run closer together, meaning a more frequent service and shorter waiting times for customers.

Further benefits will include a train control system which will increase capacity further starting with the Circle line in 2021, with additional frequent services at peak times. During 2023 the final improvements will be delivered, with a further boost to peak and off-peak frequency on the Metropolitan line.

When the signalling upgrade is completed, peak hours capacity will be increased by:

  • 17,500 more customers per hour on the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines,
  • 10,000 more customers per hour on the District line
  • 9,000 more customers per hour on the Metropolitan line

The Circle, District, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City lines together make up nearly 40 per cent of the network and include the oldest part of the network built in 1863. Between them the four lines carry around 1.3 million passengers a day.

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